Lighting open air fires without the necessary approvals may burn a big hole in your back pocket.
Backyard burning of anything including vegetation without approval is strictly prohibited within the Junee Shire Council Local Government Area and on the spot fines of $500 have been issued to individuals for lighting backyard fires.
With the colder months now upon us, the urge to get out and light backyard fires is high, whether it’s to clean up the yard of fallen timber and leaves or as a social gathering point, backyard fires are increasingly common this time of year.
Local Council Approvals
Most people would be aware they are not allowed to burn household rubbish and prohibited articles such as tyres and coated wire in their backyards but, what may not be widely known is that the burning, in the open, of anything including vegetation such as dried leaves and timber without Council approval is also prohibited and is an offence under Clause 12 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulations 2010.
Council can issue on the spot penalties of $500 to individuals or $1,000 to corporations who are found to be lighting prohibited fires without first obtaining Council approval. In server cases individuals can be charged with the offence and court-imposed fines of up to $5,500 maybe imposed.
Fire District Approvals (‘Fire Permits’)
It needs to be noted that in addition to an approval from Council, a ‘Fire Permit’ may also be required when lighting fires in a Fire District (controlled by Fire and Rescue NSW) or a Rural Fire District (Controlled by NSW Rural Fire Service). Generally, the Rural Fire Service (RFS) will require a ‘Fire Permit’ to be issued before a fire is lit during the bushfire danger period between October and April. However, its important to know that if you are lighting a fire within the Junee township and surrounding area, which is within the jurisdiction of Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), then a ‘Fire Permit’ is needed to be obtained at any time during the year. It is an office under the Rural Fires Act 1997 to light a fire without this official permit authorisation. The RFS and FRNSW may also issue their own on the spot fines of $1,100 or proceed to prosecute people for lighting fires without a required ‘Fire Permit’.
So, to avoid the possibility of expensive penalties, please ensure you obtain all of the necessary approvals before you light a fire, especially if you are located within the Junee Fire District controlled by FRNSW.
There are some exemptions to the requirements to obtain approvals to burn in the open. In particular, these requirements do not impact someone’s ability to use a solid fuel BBQ or Camp/Fire Pits when used for recreational purposes. These sorts of small fires can continue to be enjoyed without needing any formal approval, provided only dry seasoned wood is used and the fire is contained within a permanently constructed fireplace having a cleared area of at least 2 metres around the perimeter of any combustible materials.
For further information on the processes involved in obtaining the necessary approvals to light fires in the Junee Local Government Area call the Council office on 02 6924 8100.
Download: Vegetation Burning Application